Malaysia to install more than 700 traffic cameras


More than 700 traffic surveillance cameras are set to appear across Malaysia as part of a program to catch errant drivers and reduce fatal accidents, national news agency Bernama reported Tuesday.

Beginning next year, the cameras will be set up at traffic lights, highways and main roads, Bernama quoted Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy as saying on Monday in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, where he was studying road safety programs.

Sweden has among the lowest road accident and fatality rates in the world.

Last year, Malaysia recorded 23.5 deaths for every 100,000 people. According to local media, this is the highest road death ratio in the world. Malaysian motorists are notorious for a lack of driving discipline.

The surveillance camera scheme is part of a five-year drive to improve safety on Malaysia's roads. Other projects include educating schoolchildren, rewarding law-abiding motorists and building separate lanes for motorcyclists.

Authorities aim to halve the road fatalities in five years through the new program, which is scheduled to run until 2010.

Common traffic offenses in Malaysia include speeding, crossing double lines, changing lanes without signaling, tailgating and parking along yellow lines.

Chan said the surveillance cameras, operating around the clock, will monitor every car movement. Vehicles caught speeding, beating traffic lights, driving in emergency lanes and overtaking illegally will be fined.

He said similar systems have proven effective in several countries including the United States, China and South Korea.

"This is because every driver knows once they are sitting behind the wheel there are surveillance cameras monitoring their movement. With this, their awareness of enforcement will automatically go to the very high level," said Chan.